In a video interview with local news station WDIV that was taken at a memorial service for the Queen of Soul on Thursday, Knight, 74, opened up about the last moment she shared with Franklin, whom she described as “our queen” and “my sister.”
“The last time I talked to her, we were at the same hotel and we didn’t know it,” she said, explaining that afterwards they “got to talking and everything and at that time we shared the fact that we had the same disease.”
While many took that to be an admission that Knight was also suffering from pancreatic cancer — the disease that claimed Franklin’s life earlier this month — her publicist, Jay Schwartz, later clarified that was not the case.
Knight “does not have pancreatic cancer,” Schwartz told the Detroit News. “She is fine.”
RELATED VIDEO: Gladys Knight Remembers Aretha Franklin & Her ‘God-Given’ Voice
Reminiscing about Franklin’s legacy, Knight previously told People Now, “She had a voice that was god given and she used it to the best of her ability and to all kinds of heights.”
“With Aretha, she didn’t really know what she had. She was kind of shy,” the “Midnight Train to Georgia” singer added.
Following Franklin’s passing, Knight also shared a touching tribute to the fallen icon on social media.
“Aretha, your music set a standard for every single lady in this industry to rise to. You have touched minds, hearts and spirits, including my own,” she wrote. “I pray you have a smooth journey Ree Ree and hopefully I’ll get to sing with you in the Heavenly choir. Love you #QueenOfSoul”
Franklin will be laid to rest in Detroit on Friday, following her ‘Celebration of Life’ funeral service.
The singer’s funeral, which is expected to run for six and a half hours, has already seen touching speeches from family members, politicians (including former president Bill Clinton), and friends like Tyler Perry, Cicely Tyson, and Clive Davis.
Faith Hill kicked off the musical performance tributes, followed by Ariana Grande — who sang Franklin’s 1967 hit “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman.” Chaka Khan, Shirley Caesar and Fantasia Barrino-Taylor have also been among those singers paying their respects to the Queen of Soul in song.